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Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Diabetes Prove Cost-Effective

Using a computer model to analyze data from the 2003-2010 NHANE survey, researchers found that significant cost savings could be made if prediabetes patients made lifestyle changes…

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends combined diet and physical activity promotion programs for people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, as evidence continues to show that intensive lifestyle interventions are effective for overweight individuals with prediabetes.

Researchers from IHS Life Sciences in Washington, DC, used a Markov model to simulate disease onset, medical expenditures, economic outcomes, mortality, and quality of life for a nationally representative sample with prediabetes from the 2003−2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Modeled scenarios used 10-year follow-up results from the lifestyle arm of the Diabetes Prevention Program and Outcomes Study versus simulated natural history of disease.

Over 10 years, estimated average cumulative gross economic benefits of treating patients who met diabetes screening criteria recommended by the ADA ($26,800) or USPSTF ($24,700) exceeded average benefits from treating the entire prediabetes population ($17,800). Estimated cumulative, gross medical savings for these three populations averaged $10,400, $11,200, and $6,300, respectively. Published estimates suggest that opportunistic screening for prediabetes is inexpensive, and lifestyle intervention similar to the Diabetes Prevention Program can be achieved for ≤$2,300 over 10 years.

The researchers concluded that, “Lifestyle intervention among people with prediabetes produces long-term societal benefits that exceed anticipated intervention costs, especially among prediabetes patients that meet the ADA and USPSTF screening guidelines.”

Timothy Dall. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dec 9, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.10.003